Mentor Bios

The 2017-2018 Mentors

Check back soon for information on the mentors participating in the 2017-18 CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program.
In the meantime, take a look at the profiles of our mentors from 2017-18 program.

The 2016-2017 Mentors

Daryl Barnhart, APR

Communications Consultant, Niagara Region

Daryl Barnhart

Daryl Barnhart is a Communications Consultant with the Niagara Region. In this role, he is responsible for providing strategic Public Relations counsel and guidance on all aspects of the Region’s corporate communication function, including research, communications planning, media relations, internal communications, issues management and evaluation.
Before joining Niagara Region, Daryl worked in the non-profit sector providing communications and marketing support to the Military Family Resource Centre. In this role he gained valuable experience by working closely with the federal government and the Department of National Defense.

An award-winning practitioner, Daryl has won awards from both the CPRS and IABC, including most recently winning Government Relations Campaign of the Year in 2014 and 2016. He is a past member of the board of directors for the CPRS Hamilton chapter.

Daryl holds a Journalism-Print diploma, post-graduate Certificate in Public Relations from the University of Victoria, formal public affairs training from the Department of National Defence, a leadership certificate from Brock University and his Public Relations accreditation (APR).

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Research
  • Communications planning
  • Media relations
  • Internal communications
  • Issues management

Susan Emigh, BAA, MCM

Director, Public Relations, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University

Susan Emigh

Susan has been the director, public relations for the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University for 14 years, responsible for the Faculty’s internal and external communications, including media relations, websites, publications, issues management and crisis communications, as well as government relations. Previously, she spent 25 years at The Hamilton Spectator where her roles ranged from reporter and editor to director of research and development.

She has received recognition with awards as a journalist and as a communications professional, including the Sharon Little APR Legacy Fund Scholarship Award from CPRS Hamilton. She holds a degree in journalism from Ryerson University and a Master of Communications Management from McMaster University.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Public sector communications
  • Media relations
  • Internal/external communications
  • Issues and crisis management
  • Research

What she brings to the program and her mentorship match:

I often think that ‘If only I knew then what I know now’, I would have enjoyed my career even more. I would enjoy sharing my experience and expertise while looking forward to the quickly developing public relations sector of the future.

Mark Gregory

Managing Partner, LocomotionPR

Mark Gregory

Mark Gregory has over 25 years of experience as a senior communications strategist, and practitioner in both the private and public sectors. As Managing Partner of LocomotionPR, his critical thinking has generated creative solutions for a wide range of clients including Greenergy, the UK’s second-largest privately held company, Burlington Hydro, Pioneer Energy, the City of Burlington, the Regions of Waterloo and Halton and the Town of Oakville, and a variety of not-for profits including Farm and Food Care Canada, McMaster University, Charles Sturt University and Hamilton’s Immigrant Women’s Centre, The Canadian Hearing Society, Wesley Urban Ministries and Hope Air.

He successfully directed public affairs for one of Canada’s ‘Big Cities’ and a large health region with 12 hospitals; handled communications for six different provincial government departments, including Education and Intergovernmental Affairs; and acted as Vice President, Marketing Communications for a leading Canadian IT company. A persuasive PR storyteller, Mark’s writing has appeared in dailies such as the Hamilton Spectator, key trade publications and such prestigious journals as Vital Speeches of the Day, and Canadian Public Policy.

Well-respected in the business community, Mark was the first Chairman of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) to serve a two-year term. He is Co-President of the Hamilton Chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS). An award-winning communicator, Mark won a 2013 CPRS Pinnacles Award of Excellence as ‘Mentor of the Year’ and in 2015, he received the prestigious Bill Cockman Memorial Award of Excellence for Leadership in Public Relations.

Mark is on the faculty of McMaster University’s Marketing and Business Administration Programs. He is a recipient of McMaster University’s 2010/2011 annual Instructor Award that annually recognizes one of McMaster’s finest instructors. He is a former Professor with Humber’s Bachelor of PR Program.

Janine Ivings, APR

Supervisor of Marketing & Sponsorship, Town of Oakville

Janine Ivings

Janine Ivings is an award-winning public relations and marketing professional with more than 15 years of public sector experience. She understands that proactive and strategic communications are key to an organization’s success and encourages her clients to think “big picture”.

In addition to traditional communications, Janine embraces social media and digital communications to expand community reach. She believes that her sense of humour helps keep her PR career in check and is excited to be part of the CPRS Hamilton’s mentorship program.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Marketing
  • Media Relations
  • Issues Management
  • Social Media
  • Sponsorship

What she brings to the program and her mentorship match:

I hope to share honest and meaningful tips and lessons learned from my professional experiences as a PR practitioner in the public sector. I am also eager to pass along my APR knowledge to those looking to achieve their accreditation.

Rick Mauro, MBA, APR

Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations, CAA Niagara

Rick Mauro

Rick is the vice president of marketing and public relations for CAA Niagara where he oversees a team of eight. He manages a marketing and community relations annual budget of more than $1 million. Earlier in his career Rick spent several years as a reporter with the Niagara Falls Review. Rick served as a longstanding board member of YMCA Niagara, earned an MBA in Public Relations and Communications Management and is an accredited member of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Gordon Neufeld, APR

President, Communica Inc.

Gordon Neufeld

Gordon is a visionary leader, communicator, and Kolbe-certified coach with a diverse background including a degree in economics and theatre, 20 years in arts management, and 12 years as founder and president of a national award-winning communications consulting firm.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Communication coaching
  • Strategy
  • Crisis communication
  • Business coaching

What he brings to the program and his mentorship match:

I bring a lot of experience in all facets of the communications portfolio including running my own communications firm, coaching hundreds of C Suite executives on communication both personal and corporate, crisis communicator for over 15 years. I am now a leadership coach coaching senior executives and entrepreneurs worldwide.

David Rowney, APR, FCPRS

Senior Manager, Canadian Banking Communications

David Rowney

David graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism and became editor of the Georgetown Herald, before moving on to a career in public relations.

During his career he has spent over 20 years in corporate communications, working for two national accounting firms, a global engineering company, and a leading insurance organization. In 2009 he taught communications management at Centennial College.

With CPRS he holds dual memberships with Toronto and Hamilton, volunteering for award judging, APR grading and mentorship activities. He has received several professional association recognitions, including three national awards.

David volunteers his time as a board member for a Mississauga charity called CameronHelps, dedicated to reducing teen suicide.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Corporate communications
  • Internal/external communications
  • Marketing communications/social digital
  • Strategic planning

What he brings to the program and his mentorship match:

Solid understanding about work in PR for corporations in all facets; 10+ years as a mentor.

Hilary Sadler

President, Sadler Communications

Hilary Sadler

Hilary is a communications and public affairs professional specializing in strategic positioning, corporate communications and stakeholder relations. She has worked in the communication sector for over thirty years where she has provided leadership in a variety of organizations focused on strategic planning, sponsorship development, and community engagement.

Hilary continues to manage Sadler Communications serving a number of clients.

She most recently held the position of Manager, Marketing & PR with The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Hilary has a passion for teaching and thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with students in the Marketing Programs at McMaster University, Downtown Centre for Continuing Education.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Corporate communications
  • Strategic planning/positioning
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Sponsorship development
  • Community engagement

What she brings to the program and her mentorship match:

A passion for teaching and more than 30 years of experience.

Dr. Alex Sévigny, APR, MCIPR

Executive Director of Master of Communications Management Program, McMaster University

Dr. Alex Sévigny

Alex is a tenured associate professor of communication studies and communications management in the Department of Communication Studies & Multimedia at McMaster University. Alex is also currently the director of the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Reputation management
  • Communications management
  • Strategic communication
  • News analysis
  • Media and audience measurement
  • Political communication
  • Translation
  • Cognitive science
  • Pragmatic philosophy

Brenda Sweeney, APR, FCPRS, C.Dir.

Managing Director, Sweeney Communications Inc.

Brenda Sweeney

Brenda is an accredited strategic communications professional with award winning, nationally-recognized results. She is a trusted advisor for government, broader public sector and corporate clients across Canada. Brenda specializes in stakeholder relations, issues and crisis management, communications research, and corporate training.

Since joining CPRS Hamilton in 2003, Brenda has volunteered at the local and national level. Her contributions have included serving as a board member, accreditation chair, accreditation grader, 2016 World PR Forum awards judge and 2016 World PR Forum workshop committee member. In 2012, she received the Mentor-of-the-year award from CPRS Hamilton. Brenda is also a member of Scouts Canada’s Board of Governors where she currently leads the Governance Working Group.

Areas of Practice/Specialization

  • Broader Public  Sector (Municipalities, Agencies, Colleges/Universities, Schools, Energy)
  • Financial Services (Wealth Management)
  • Tech (Software, Graphics)
  • Stakeholder Relations
  • Issues and Crisis Management

What she brings to the program and her mentorship match:

Long view of a career in communications; Experience as a mentor; Interest in sharing knowledge and experience with mentee who will also bring their insights/knowledge to conversation.

Roxanne Torbiak, APR

The End Game Communications

Roxanne Torbiak

Roxanne Torbiak is an experienced public relations professional who has focused her practice in healthcare communications for more than 20 years.

Until December 2015, Roxanne worked at Hamilton Health Sciences, one of Ontario’s largest academic hospital systems for 14 years, most recently as a senior communications specialist. Her portfolio included communications strategy and leadership to develop and advance communications in numerous complex and high-profile initiatives.

Throughout her career and life, Roxanne became increasingly aware of issues related to hospice palliative care and end-of-life. She left HHS to focus on advancing communications in this area and started The End Game Communications in April 2016.

She has also partnered with a palliative social worker on an initiative called The End Game, interactive and upbeat sessions designed to normalize conversation about dying and death, while empowering attendees to explore their wishes and preferences for end-of-life care.

Roxanne has a bachelor’s degree in English from McMaster University and a certificate in public relations from Humber College. She earned her APR in 2012 and Lean Yellow Belt in 2015 from the Ontario Hospital Association.

Areas of Practice/Specialization

  • Internal and external communications
  • Health promotion
  • Strategic planning
  • Issues management
  • Crisis communications
  • Media relations

What she brings to the program and her mentorship match:

I think that we all learn from each other regardless of whether we’re new to the field or a veteran. I am delighted to be part of this important program and I look forward sharing learnings and insights about communications, health care and work-life balance.

Allyson Wenzowski

Principal at Publicity Works Public Relations & Media Communications

Allyson Wenzowski

Allyson is an award-winning communications professional. As principal of her own practice she has a range of clients. Allyson was Chair of the Dundas Division of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and acted as a studio guide for the Carnegie Gallery.

Areas of Practice/Specialization:

  • Media relations
  • Advertising and sales strategies
  • Communications planning and implementation
  • Reputation management
  • Event planning
  • Fundraising
  • Advocacy